Sunday, January 25, 2015

What about Superstar code?

Was watching an old video of Steve Jobs doing a very good interview which was a bit before he returned to Apple, and he talked about how some coders were just incredibly good, and I won't give the statistics he gave as to how much better, but it is remarkable to me how hidden that is.

Like consider mathematics, where you have great names like Gauss, where there are all kinds of "gaussian" things. Just do a web search. I just checked now and Google had four ready suggestions, like gaussian distribution.

In code you have design patterns which are great. But that to me is more about common themes in coding versus standout code itself. Of course there are so many languages, and algorithms I'm sure get named, but you ever have that bit of code that you keep thinking about? Buried in some application you helped build and design years ago? Ever wonder about that code?

I do.

There is an art to coding, which I think isn't yet being recognized fully yet. And having some idle thoughts though I have been putting more brainstorming ideas in this direction, like my suggestion that coders get paid by how often their code is used in an application.

Coding is still too anonymous I think. Big names get known more for products though you have people I think of as code heroes like Linus Torvalds. But even there I haven't dug into his coding but know of him, of course, because of Linux.

Of course I'm on the periphery of the software industry now. Haven't hung out with coders in a while.

You know? I do kind of miss that excitement, like when your team goes home because you're going to re-write everything more efficiently--which I know is frowned upon these days--certain you're nuts, and they come back in the morning and you've re-done weeks of coding work. And it's better, easier to read, more efficient, and includes coding solutions that just seemed to appear only to now just be part of one more application.

When will masterpieces of coding work get their due?

But you know? If a particular coding block in an application makes millions because people are paying attention to what code in the application is the workhorse as it actually gets used then yeah, that's Superstar code in our money focused world.

Wouldn't you think? Heck, even major newsers with no clue really how the code even worked would report on it, just because. And then you'd have this freaking famous coding block. To me that just sounds like it should already be here. It belongs here.

Just some Sunday musing in the morning, listening to, um, Fiona Apple on web radio, sipping my second cup of coffee.

I like to call Fiona Apple the Muse, and hey, everybody has to find their own muse and there is no judgment allowed, of muses. Hey, when you find a muse that works, don't question.

(Oh yeah, some Radiohead came on while I was editing, listening to that now as I type. I didn't even realize I knew any of their music.)

James Harris
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